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Minestrone Soup with Pesto Toasts

Steaming bowls of really good vegetable soup are one of life’s simple pleasures. We’ve taken traditional minestrone and given it an irresistible wintery twist by adding chopped kale and butternut squash. The Pesto Toasts are pretty irresistible too.

Want our Autumn Meal Plan?  See what a simple meal plan, plant-powered recipes, weekly shopping lists and prep tips can do to you and your family!



  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 240 minutes
  • Total Time: 265 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Main Course



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 carrots (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 celery stalks (sliced)
  • ounce One 15– can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed, 1 ½ cups)
  • ounce One 28– can diced tomatoes in juice (do not drain)
  • 2 cups butternut squash (diced)
  • 1 quart vegetable broth (plus more if needed)
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Italian Herbs
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • ¾ cup Basil Pesto (divided (recipe follows))
  • 4 ciabatta rolls (halved)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella


  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds.
  2. Transfer to a slow cooker along with the carrots, celery, beans, diced tomatoes and their juice, butternut squash, vegetable broth, and dried Italian herbs. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours.
  3. Stir in the leafy greens and ¼ cup of the pesto. The residual heat will cook the greens without turning them mushy. If the soup is too thick, add more broth.
  4. Prepare toasts. Preheat oven broiler to low. Spread 1 Tbsp each on the top of each roll half. Top with the cheese. Place on a baking sheet. Broil until warm and bubbly, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately with the soup. Alternatively, toast bread slices in toaster and spread pesto on top. Omit cheese, if desired.


Notes: Can also use fancier Italian cheeses like Asiago, Provolone, Parmesan, or Fontina. Cooked pasta can be added to the soup, if desired. Adding uncooked pasta to the slow cooker can also be done, but it may become too mushy with the long cooking time.

GF option: use gluten-free rolls or hamburger buns for toasts.



  • Category: Side Dish


If you’re a fan of pesto already, then you know just how versatile it is. We use it for all kinds of things – pizza sauce, to flavor soups and sauces, drizzling over roasted veggies, spreading on toast. It also lends itself to numerous variations – use different nuts or cheeses, try adding other herbs, even kale or spinach!



  • 6 cups gently packed fresh basil leaves (about 2 large healthy bunches)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Place the nuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the basil leaves, cheese, and salt. Pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Turn motor on to low speed and pour the olive oil in a slow, steady stream through the feed hole. Process until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. Will keep about 1 week.


Notes: Almonds or walnuts can be used in place of the pine nuts. Other hard grating cheese, such as romano can be substituted for the Parmesan. Other herbs can also be used in place of or in conjunction with the basil. We suggest trying spinach, kale, mint, and/or parsley.

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  1. Anita

    October 12th, 2015 at 6:09 am

    I am considering purchasing The Let’s Eat Dinner Menu Plan and I have already pre-ordered the cook book. I don’t want to make a duplicated purchase if the dinner menus are in the book. Let me know.

  2. SGS Rawkstar

    October 12th, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Hi Anita,

    Great question! There seems to be a little bit of confusion between our new cookbooks. Simple Green Smoothies will be hitting bookshelves on November 3rd, and is packed with over 100 green smoothie recipes! Let’s Eat is a four week dinner meal plan, and is a PDF e-book. We include a few green smoothie recipes as a bonus in our Let’s Eat Meal Plan, but they’re completely different than the recipes included in our upcoming book!

    Hope this helps!

  3. Tracey

    October 12th, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Do you have the nutritional value of your recipes?

  4. SGS Rawkstar

    October 12th, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Hi Tracey,

    We try not to focus on the numbers. You’ll find that when you consume more nourishing whole fruits and veggies, you will not only feel full longer, but you’ll also have lessened cravings for high-calorie, nutritionally empty foods. So in the end it balances out. But we know many people would like to have the nutritional info. Three great resources for tracking calories are Self Nutrition Data, and the phone apps: My Fitness Pal and Lose It.

  5. Linda Smith

    October 12th, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Just ordered book, but somehow entered e-mail wrong. Correct e-mail above. Green Smoothies are great, as was the 21 day cleanse. Looking forward to this new one!

  6. SGS Rawkstar

    October 12th, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you so much for your support! Please send a quick message to our team at the link below + they’ll correct your email address!


  7. Susan

    October 18th, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    This soup is delicious and that’s coming from a family that is picky about soups! The flavor was great before I added the pesto and with the pesto it was even better. I didn’t have dried Italian herbs, so I used 1/2 tsp of oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, and rosemary, which is slightly more than 2 tsp.

  8. SGS Rawkstar

    October 19th, 2015 at 6:54 am

    Hi Susan,

    Yay! We’re so happy to hear your family enjoyed this recipe! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  9. Wairimu

    November 17th, 2015 at 12:25 am

    Look delicious. We don’t have a snow-cooker. How long will it take to cook the ‘normal’ way?

  10. SGS Rawkstar

    November 17th, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Wairimu,

    Great question! About 25-30 minutes on your stovetop will be the perfect amount of time to allow your veggies to soften. Add the pesto + greens shortly prior to serving.


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